The first schoolhouse in Hawkinsville was built in the block that is bounded by Jackson, Broad, Commerce, and Lumpkin Streets. It was a little nearer Jackson Street, almost behind what is now the Ford station. One feature of the teaching of this school was that the pupils studied aloud. The patrons decided that this school was too near the business section, so a new schoolhouse was built beyond E. J. Henry’s place on the road to what was then called “the Polhill Place.” Afterwards the Tomlin place. This building was burned. At this time, Uncle Jimmy Williamson, as he was familiarly called, was the teacher. A big boy gave the signal. The pupils were very much frightened, and began to rush out. “Get your buiks; get your buiks!” Uncle Jimmy instructed. This simple little ruse quieted the pupils and each one came out with his or her books, quite unhurt.
The next schoolhouse was on the White place, where the Watson home stood afterwards. Then they built the academy on the lot where Mrs. D. T. Mashburn now lives.
Some of the teachers who taught in this building were:
R. H. Brown
G. R. McCall
J. H. Martin, who made his home here and was well known.
M. N. McCall
M. T. Hodge
R. C. Sanders also taught in the academy before the city decided to have a public school.
R. 0. Pate says that a Mr. McDonald once taught in the old Methodist Church which was on the lot where the Batts home now stands. Another resident says at one time a writing school was conducted in the same old building.
In a bundle of old letters which were recently turned over to a resident of Hawkinsville was one dated July 2, 1885, in which the writer made this comment: “Our poor county can’t boast of good schools though there are great efforts making to build a college in Hawkinsville. I heard that they had commenced it, yet I fear it will never he accomplished.” It is doubtful if there is a person living who recalls this movement.
Various organizations have contributed to the upbuilding of the school. The P. T. A. was responsible for the acquisition of the Home Economics Department. In addition to this, the tennis courts have been equipped, a new basketball floor laid in the Fair building, and several other improvements have been made through their efforts. The Daughters of the American Revolution have contributed to the morale of the student body and the development of good citizenship among the students through their presentation each year of an award to the boy and the girl who are considered the best citizens by their teachers and fellow students. This award is made on the following qualities of character:
1. Dependability, as evidenced by the record in punctuality, truthfulness, honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, and self-control.
2. Cooperation, as evidenced by the record in respect for authority, respect for property, respect for the rights of others, and courtesy.
3. Leadership, as evidenced by what the pupil has done to make the school a better school.
4. Patriotism, as evidenced by loyalty to, and knowledge of, the purpose expressed in the preamble of the Constitution of the United States.
Scholarship has been stimulated by the Parent-Teacher Association. Each year this organization awards medals to the boy and the girl attaining the highest scholastic average.